Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Getty Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Klay Thompson’s future with the Golden State Warriors is in jeopardy, but one of his former teammates shared what’s most important to the five-time All-Star guard, offering insight into how the Dubs might bring Thompson back to the Bay Area.

Now an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings, Leandro Barbosa was teammates with Thompson for two years between 2014-16. The two won a title together in 2014-15 and earned a trip back to the NBA Finals the following season.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports spoke over the weekend with Barbosa, who Thompson refers to as “hermano” (the Spanish word for “brother”), about Thompson’s looming free agency.

“He’s going to have to be really patient,” Barbosa told Poole. “I hope he comes back to the Warriors — I don’t know what’s the situation, but it’s going to be tough. I know the money is going up [for NBA players], and he’s been thinking about the money. But I think he needs to be happy. I think that’s the most important thing.”

Klay Thompson Still Valuable Piece to Winning NBA Teams

Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, WarriorsKlay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Warriors

Getty Stephen Curry (left) and Klay Thompson (right) of the Golden State Warriors.

All indications are that Thompson has been happy across the vast majority of his 13 years in Golden State.

He is one of the best shooters in league history and has only been helped by playing alongside Stephen Curry for so long. Thompson also held a reasonable claim to the moniker of the best two-way player in the game for several seasons, during which he was reeling off All-Star Game selections and the Warriors were reeling off Finals trips and titles.

Thompson signed a five-year maximum contract in the summer of 2019, just weeks after tearing his ACL during the Finals against the Toronto Raptors, which paid him $190 million and expires in a matter of days. The shooting guard ended up missing the first two and a half seasons on that deal due to the knee injury, which was followed by an Achilles tear late in the rehabilitation process.

Thompson has not been the same player since, though talk of his demise as a valuable piece of a winning roster has certainly been overblown over the past couple of years. He helped the Dubs to their fourth title in 2022, and while he isn’t the defender he once was, Thompson still averaged nearly 18 points per game and shot close to 39% from behind the 3-point line last season. He also led the league in free throw percentage at a 92.7% clip, per Basketball Reference.

Klay Thompson Looking for 3-Year Contract From Warriors

Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

GettyKlay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

All of that is to say that while Thompson is no longer a superstar, he remains a plus starter and a legitimate offensive floor spacer who occasionally still flashes true star quality.

“Klay is not the same (as) he used to be,” Barbosa told Poole. “So, it’s going be a tough process for him from now on.”

With player salaries on the rise in the NBA, which Barbosa noted, Thompson’s play is worth more than the casual fan might believe. Golden State offered him two years and $48 million ahead of last season, which Thompson declined.

How Thompson felt about an annual average salary is unclear, though Poole reported over the weekend that the Warriors came up short on the years Thompson desires with their most recent offer.

“Thompson realizes he won’t see anything like his expiring contract … worth $190 million,” Poole wrote. “League sources indicate he’s seeking an offer of at least three years.”

Thompson has garnered interest from other teams around the league in need of shooting, including the Orlando Magic who could seriously contend for his services this summer.

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